Breaking Down the Differences Between Beer and Lager

Breaking Down the Differences Between Beer and Lager

If you’re a beer enthusiast, you’ve probably heard the terms “beer” and “lager” thrown around quite often. But, what exactly are these beverages, and what sets them apart?

In this article, we will explore the differences between beer and lager, their origin, making process, characteristics, and the various types available.

The Origin of Beer and Lager

Beer is the oldest recorded alcoholic beverage in history, dating back to 5000 BCE in ancient Mesopotamia. The beer-making process involves fermenting grains with yeast, water, and hops to create a beverage that has an alcoholic content ranging from low to high.

Lager, on the other hand, is a type of beer that originated in Germany in the 16th century. It is made using a specific type of yeast known as Saccharomyces pastorianus and undergoes a cold fermentation process resulting in a crisp and refreshing taste.

Making Process of Beer and Lager

The making process of beer and lager differs in several ways. In beer, the fermentation process occurs at warmer temperatures ranging from 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. The yeast used is known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which creates a fruity and spicy flavor.

On the other hand, lager undergoes a cold fermentation process at temperatures ranging from 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This process results in a more subdued flavor profile compared to beer.

The Characteristics of Beer and Lager

Beer and lager vary in factors such as color, ABV (alcohol by volume), taste and aroma.

Beer is typically golden to amber in color, with an ABV ranging from 4 to 7%. It has a wide range of flavors from bitter to sweet, sour, and malty. It also has a “hoppy” taste, which makes it bitter and can be floral or citrusy.

On the other hand, Lager is generally lighter in color, ranging from light gold to amber, with an ABV usually ranging from 4 to 6%. It has a crisp, clean taste, with a light body and low bitterness. It is refreshing and often consumed during hot summer days.

Types of Beer and Lager

Both beer and lager have numerous types and subtypes, each unique in their own way. Here are some popular types:

Types of Beer:

1. Pale Ale – a fruity, hoppy beer with a malty finish.
2. Belgian Ale – a sweet, spicy beer, with a medium to full body.
3. Stout – a dark beer with a roasted taste and creamy texture.
4. Wheat Beer – a light, refreshing beer made with wheat and often with noticeable citrus and clove flavors.

Types of Lager:

1. Pilsner – a light, crisp beer with a mild bitterness.
2. Helles – a German-style pale lager with a slightly sweet taste.
3. Dunkel – a dark, malty lager with a caramel taste.
4. Bock – a strong, malty lager with a high alcohol content.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the difference between ale and beer?

A. Ale is a type of beer, and beer is a broader category of fermented alcoholic drinks made from grains.

Q. Is beer or lager healthier?

A. The health benefits of beer and lager are similar, and moderation is key. They are both low in fat and cholesterol and can have positive effects on the heart.

Q. Can I mix beer and lager?

A. Mixing beer and lager can result in a unique flavor profile and is often referred to as a “shandy.”


Overall, beer and lager differ in their origin, making process, characteristics, and taste. Both are beloved beverages that have been enjoyed by consumers for centuries. Remember to enjoy these drinks in moderation, and feel free to explore the numerous types and subtypes available in the market.

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